Internet Safety For Teens: Top Tools And Advice For Parents

As the internet becomes increasingly integrated into our everyday lives, it’s more important than ever to ensure our kids use it safely. As a parent, it can be tough to keep up with all the latest online trends and dangers, but luckily, many resources are available to help.

Here are some of the most important things to remember regarding internet safety for teens.

Internet Dangers Affecting Teens

Like adults, teens are exposed to various internet dangers and can unwittingly fall into the trap of cybercriminals. Some of these online safety risks involve:

  • Malware, viruses, and spyware
  • Identity theft
  • Online shopping scams
  • Cyberbullying or online bullying
  • Stalking from predators met online
  • Gaming addiction
  • Exposure to inappropriate content
  • Online threats

How To Practice Internet Safety For Teens

Monitor their activity.

It’s essential to stay involved in your teen’s online activities and monitor their presence online. Ensure their digital content is accurate and assist them in spotting any misleading content.

Set up parental controls to prevent them from accessing adult content. Create age-appropriate internet rules and explain the reasoning, so they are not tempted to break them.  

Several software tools like Net Nanny allow you to monitor your teen’s online activity. You can also set limits on their screen time and impose basic ground rules involving online games and the use of social networks.

Educate them about cyberbullying.

Unfortunately, cyberbullying is a reality for many kids today. Provide your teen with information about cyberbullying and ways to deal with it if they experience it themselves or witness it happening to a friend.

Encourage them to speak up and report any instances of cyberbullying they witness. Sometimes, it can be difficult for teens to speak up, so check for signs of online bullying like depression, avoidance of online activities, or secretive behavior. 

Talk to your teen if you believe he or she is the victim of online bullying. Take a problem-solving approach rather than freaking out. 

Teach them about “stranger danger.”

When your kids are online, it is just as important to teach them about strangers imposing dangers as in the real world. Show them how to spot red flags, like someone asking for personal information or trying to meet in person, and stress the importance of never responding to these messages.

If they have an “online friend” you haven’t met in person, insist that you meet them first before allowing your kid to go out with them alone. Be open and talk to them about online dating and romantic relationships. There’s a big chance they’ll encounter these situations online as they move on to adulthood. 

Guide them to make safe online purchases.

Help your child identify reputable online shopping sites and practice safe shopping behaviors. Teach them about reading online reviews, checking transactions, and making sure sites meet software security requirements. 

If they are allowed to make app purchases on their phone, consider solutions like cash cards and iTunes allowances. 

Put an emphasis on online privacy. 

Help kids keep sensitive information password protected and away from prying eyes. Help them set up password protection on all of their electronic devices and secure these vital passwords on either a password manager app or a location that’s safe. 

Talk to them about the importance of privacy settings and why they shouldn’t share personal information with strangers or post compromising pictures online. Check their mobile phones for apps that use location-sharing settings and turn them off for those that don’t need them. 

Keep Your Teen Safe From The Dangers Of The Internet

The internet is vast, and the only foolproof way to protect your child is to encourage them to keep open communication with you. Together, you can navigate the dangers of the internet and still help your teen lead a normal and fulfilling life. 

By following these tips, you can help ensure your teen stays safe while they’re online. The most important thing is to stay involved in their digital life and openly communicate about internet safety.

Check out our resources at Be Safe for more information on keeping your family safe online.